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Friday, May 27, 2005
Booz Allen and Aspen Institute report on a massive research project designed to understand how companies are dealing with the challenges of managing values:
  • What are the dimensions of corporate values?
  • What are the factors that enable and hinder executives in making decisions based on their corporate values?
  • What is the value of corporate values?
  • What are the best practices for applying corporate values?
Profiled in the latest issue of Strategy+Business, the study concludes:
The survey’s most significant finding was that a large number of companies are making their values explicit. That’s a change — quite a significant change — from corporate practices 10 years ago. The ramifications of this shift are just beginning to be understood.

...more companies are going well beyond simply displaying values statements: They are engaging in values-driven management improvement efforts. Among those efforts are training staff in values, appraising executives and staff on their adherence to values, and hiring organizational experts to help address how values affect corporate performance.
Ironically, just before getting to the article in S+B, I read a review of The Smartest Guys in the Room, the Enron expose. In the S+B article, Marshall Goldsmith talks about Enron's values statement -- the slickest he'd ever seen. Of course, Ken and the boys didn't follow it. In contrast, J&J has a folksy credo they live by.

As individuals are given responsibility for self management, values will only become more important in directing work. "An individual without information can't take responsibility. An individual with information can't help but take responsibility." Jan Carlzon.


Anonymous Marshall Goldsmith said...

Jay - I think that a lot of the work on "values" that many companies spend money on is too much focused on "look good" and not enough focused on "be good"! Ultimately leader's behavior speaks more loudly that slogans. Two simple steps that every company can use are: 1. providing feedback to leaders - to compare their perceived behavior with desired behavior and 2. letting everyone know that anyone who has an ethics violation will be fired. Any comments?

6:59 AM  
Blogger jay said...

Marshall, firing anyone who has an ethics violation is certainly one way of "making their values explicit." It's too crisp a solution to make much money for consulting on the topic, so I don't expect it to be among the official findings of the BAH research.

Also, wouldn't you agree that changing values requires good practice as well as good examples. Methinks there are gray areas lurking below the firing theshold.


7:37 AM  

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